|By Anne Klowden,
Gifted and Talented Facilitator,
McDonald School, Moscow, Idaho
I was overjoyed when I first saw there was a new Dr. Brain computer game available. My gifted students have long enjoyed the challenges in " The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain," "The Castle of Dr. Brain," and others in this series. It was a bit confusing at first to see the name "Knowledge Adventure" on the box instead of the familiar "Sierra" with a different look to the title's lettering, but I was assured it was still the same company. This new program is called "IQ Adventure - A Brain-Building Strategy Game," just perfect, I thought, for my high-ability students. It sounded great!
I expected the usual superior quality of these games, but as I began to explore, my concerns grew. After 60 minutes of play (at the Easy Level), I had only succeeded wandering aimlessly on 2 levels and had only solved 3 measly shape-matching puzzles. The point-and-click method of moving the main character was getting boring, and I still wasn't sure where I was heading or what I was supposed to be doing. I wanted more specific puzzles, more brainteasers and mental challenges, like those found in the "Lost Mind of Dr. Brain." The emphasis here seemed to be on moving around an alien planet looking for spaceship pieces, rather than on solving puzzles. After an hour, I decided that while my hand was getting exercise, my brain definitely was not.
To the program's credit, the initial Web site "Help" screens are very informative and easy to use. They provide complete instructions on getting started, how to play the game, and an introduction to the characters and puzzles. The game's premise is simple: You have crash-landed on an alternate universe and your IDTM (Inter-Dimensional Transporter Machine) has broken apart. Your job is to locate the pieces, rebuild it, and get away before the robots harness your human brainpower. Surrounded by strange flora and fauna, as well as bad-tempered robots and creatures, you need to solve various puzzles as you make your way through the environment.
The creatures are cute, colorful, and of three types: Jungle Creatures, like
the Botans, Mutans, harmless grass bugs, and sneaky Fumble Bees; Cavern Creatures,
including the helpful moles, slimy green fungus, and destructive rock monsters; and the
enemies in Bot City who want to keep you from rebuilding the IDTM. These include the Metal
Eye Bots, challenging Quiz Bots, and Deadly Guard Bots. I never got to meet the
interesting robots since I was seemingly stuck on level one as I wandered around and
around. An interesting option I did not explore is the Multiplayer option, where you can
connect to Adventure Link on the Internet. This allows you to play games and chat with
other players and check your rankings.